A Study of Elliptic Curve Cryptography Performance in FPGA

Mike Borza1 and James Young2
1Elliptic Semiconductor
2Lattice Semiconductor


Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) has now been approved for use in both Secure but Unclassified and Secure communications by the National Security Agency. A recent study of ECC capabilities has been undertaken to better understand the performance of the algorithm in FPGA form. The binary field ECC algorithm maps very effectively to FGPA structures and its performance was studied at different key sizes to determine how far it would scale in FPGA.

The paper will illustrate the analysis of binary field ECC and indicates that the point multiplication algorithm performs exceptionally well in FPGA. In fact, the binary field performance achieved over 10,000 point multiplications per second in high capacity FPGA platforms. This capability will open up the use of ECC based authentication and key exchange in new applications such as ad-hoc mesh networks applicable to many military and space systems.

The paper will present the methodology behind ECC hardware acceleration and illustrate the capabilities in FPGA at various key sizes.


2006 MAPLD International Conference Home Page